Robotics and Automated Systems

     table of content
  1. How to use this page
  2. Robotics
  3. Key Robotic Terms
  4. Types of robots
  5. Purpose and Use of robots
  6. Function of robots
  7. Automated control
  8. Sensing devices
  9. Actuators
  10. Controlling devices
  11. Innovations in robotics
  12. Introduction to programming
  13. Basic programming concepts
  14. Lego Robotics
  15. Assessment
  16. Coding Task
  17. copyright and acknowledgements
  18. Class site
  19. Home

How to use this page

This page has all the subject content that you will need to complete the required study for IST. You will find a range of activities called “portfolio”, “essential tasks” and ” weekly homework”. You are required to complete all of these tasks as they all make up a component of your assessment schedule. You are also expected to present your completed work on a Googlesite sharing this site with your teacher.

There are due dates displayed with each task. The Portfolio tasks will achieve a mark full marks for a well completed task, half marks for a incomplete but mostly completed and a zero mark will be given for a non attempt.The Assessments details may be found here.

Your work will be completed within the Cloudshare environment, however, an important security issue exists and you are required to ONLY use your school credentials for all online use within Cloudshare or external for example Voki.

The series of YouTubes are important to view as these will present to you visual detail that you may not see in the text. The scheduled IST end of Semester Examinations will be created from the content found on this site.

essential task 1
a) Create your own website using Cloudshare sites by visiting here. use your first name and initial of your family name so that others in the course will have a standard format to find your website. Never place any personal details on your website.

b) Share as an owner your website with your IST class teacher . This is a CEO policy for student websites.

c) Add to your website a avatar, embed a youtube video, with a A.I. theme. Add a sentence as to why you selected this video.

View this tube to view a tutorial on how to use googlesites.

View more Radford University tutorial tubes on how to use googlesites.

essential task 2

a) Create a pages titled “Robotics & Automated Systems” then read this section of sushi “Robotics & Automated Systems” and summarise using all the headings provided. The addition of an appropriate image would be good.

b) Create a page titled “Robotics & Automated Systems Key terms” and using the terms shown in this section of sushi and provide a meaning to each of these terms. Use this computer terms site here to find the meanings. The addition of an appropriate image would be good.

c) A page or series of pages will be required to place all of your work. You are expected to clearly label each task so that the task can be located.



Key Robotic & Automated Systems Terms

automated system
control system
degrees of freedom
domestic robot
industrial robot
laws of robotics




The definition of a “robot” is a machine that performs preset tasks with minimal or no assistance from a human. The robot may only do the task as it is programmed. The designing, programming and testing of robots is called “robotics”.

A robot may not be computerised. A robot may be a mechanised piece of machinery, using cogs and springs. Visit this Leonardo da Vinci’s robots site to gain an historical perspective of robotics. The key idea is that these inventions were able to be programmed and then carry out a function with out help.

The contribution of Isaac Asimov, a 1940’s writer to the concept of robots, has lead to the Laws of Robotics. These laws actually assume that robots are artificial lifeforms and that with further development, robots could develop human traits such as consciousnesses and intelligence. This means that they would no longer require programming.

The Laws of Robotics were:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to them by a human unless the order breaks rule number one.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence, unless this breaks rule number one.

portfolio task 1
Go to this History of robots site and then visit here and to create a Timeline deciding yourself which ten important points in history to record. Then save and embed this timeline in to your googlesite as portfolio task 1.

Types of robots

Industrial use of robots is extensive. An example is the car industry which uses these in the assembly line to lift and place a part, which may then be pressed or welded in place. An example of an industrial use may be viewed below.

Entertainment also uses robots as you can see on this All On Robots site. The examples are found at an amusement site, and are robots as they are programmable. Movies also use robots to create characters such as dinosaurs, though CGI (Computer-generated imagery) have replaced this.

Domestic use is becoming now more popular as you can once again see at All On Robots site. These domestic robots include vacuum cleaners, pool cleaners, washing machines and mobile webcams. such as toys

portfolio task 2
Go to this robotic task site and then use Prezi, Photostory or PowerPoint to present 8 pieces of information, 2 from each of the  presentation. Then save and embed this presentation that you have created in to your googlesite as portfolio task 2.

Writing Skill
Writing in a full sentence
Five Parts of a Complete Sentence
  1. Capital letter- A capital letter is always used at the start of a sentence, and also for Proper nouns.
  2. Subject-The subject is who or what the sentence is about.
  3. Predicate-The predicate is the verb or action that is being done.
  4. Complete thought-This is important as this makes the sentence logical. A noun, predicate and capitals can be used, but there needs to be a conclusion or logic.
  5. Terminal Punctuation- The terminal punctuation may be a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark, and one of these need to be used.


Extension task 1
Download the question sheet from here and read the questions and find the answers to these questions at this site “Learn about Robots” here. On your Googlesite save your response in a full sentences using the “Five Parts of a Complete Sentence” above.

weekly homework task 1
Q 1. What is the difference between the term “Robot” and the term “Robotics”?
Q 2.Name the main types of robots.
Read the section above the Homework, then respond to the questions and post the responses on your Googlesite.

Extension task 2
Watch the two videos above. These two videos present a very different robot. How do these two differ in appearance and in function? Support your response with reasons.


Purpose and Use of robots

Robots are an ideal substitution to humans to perform a range of tasks that maybe:

  1. Repetitive or dangerous tasks
  2. Delicate or complicated tasks
  3. Operating in remote locations

Robots are often used in these areas:

  1. Exploration
  2. Assembly
  3. Maintenance and repair
portfolio task 3
Go to this “Types of Robots” site. Then read about the types of robots that you see. Then create a page on your Googlesite that displays three of the robots shown that interest you, from the “Types of Robots” page.Then locate one Industrial robot such as found in the car industry and display in a similar manner. Do the same thing for one Domestic robot and one explorative or hazardous work robots used in space exploration or the military. You will need at least one image, the specifications and a Youtube of each of the six robots that you have chosen. Then  add to your googlesite as portfolio task 3.


weekly homework task 2
Q 1. Why are robots often used instead of humans?
Q 2. What are the three main areas that robots are used?
Read the section above the Homework, then respond to the questions and post the responses on your Googlesite.


Function of robots

A function may include the technical aspects of robotics such as the number of “Degrees of Freedom”. The term Degrees of Freedom refers to the number of pivot points or movable joints on the robot. These joints allow the robot to move so that it is able to reach points around it. Generally a minimum of six points are required.

The hardware to control robots include sensors, actuators and computer control. Sensors allow the robot to respond to changes in the environment, cold to hot, dark to cold and the location of an object.

Actuators also have an important role as they provide the source of movement and include electric engines hydaulic fluid containers such as pumps or valves.

Along with the hardware the robot requires software programs that will control it. This is a Programming language which will control the sensors and actuators. There are two main types:
Numerical Control Language and Process Control Language.

Automated control

A device that is able to directly alter the way another system operates is called a control. This may be a switch that turns something on or off. The definition of an automated control is one that operates with out direct human involvement. The control switch may be operated by a sensor, which may react to changes in temperature or light.

weekly homework task 3
Q 1.What is the function of the “Degrees of Freedom” in the robots arm?
Q 2.What is the definition of “Automated Control”?
Read the section above the Homework, then respond to the questions and post the responses on your Googlesite.


Sensing devices

Sensing devices use changes in the environment to collect data and send this to a automated or control systems. These sensors will often respond to changes such as position, temperature, motion or light.
• traffic lights
• navigation systems in cars
• security systems

Asimo learning to use sensors

Introduction to programming

Software is a set of instructions that provide a computer system with the ability to perform a task or set of tasks. There are Four main types of software:

  1. Operating Systems
  2. Application software
  3. Utility applications
  4. Custom Software

Software development and programming is the design and development process using software to solve a problem. A range of tools are used to solve the problem. These include algorithms, data dictionaries, IPO tables and screen design.

Structured Programming is different and use variables and control structure. Also used are Top-down design and Modular design.

Programming languages work on the basis that the computer will only perform the activity instructed by the code. These programming languages have there own rules or syntax. An important language is SQL and a very popular new language is Objective-C which is used to write Apps for the Apple iPhones.

Basic Programming concepts

Input, processes and output– are summaries of the program which show the relationships between each other
Variables-are named locations that store data in the computer’s memory, while the program runs.
Constants-stores the same value of data in a program.
Assignment statements-allows data to be stored in a variable. This then permits the value to be varied.
Functions-are a subprogram that do a particular action or task.
Top-down design– starts with a general solution and then breaks the process into more detailed actions known as modules.
Modular design-are when tasks are grouped by particular activities into modules, known as modules.

portfolio task 4
Visit this site and then with Lego Robotics software write the following programs. Then take a screen shot of the programs and upload your work to your googlesite as portfolio task 4. Download portfolio guide here


weekly homework task 4
Q 1.Name four software types.
Q 2. Name the two design processes? What is the difference?
Read the section above the Homework, then respond to the questions and post the responses on your Googlesite.



Actuators have an important role as they provide the source of movement and include electric engines hydraulic fluid containers such as pumps or valves.An example of an actuator is when a motor in a Lego Robot to lifts or lowers a part.

Controlling devices

Microprocessor may be found in robots and automated systems. The microprocessor is generally a single purpose processor using software stored in ROM.
The microprocessor will:

  • collect data sent by the sensors
  • process this data
  • decide upon the action
  • respond according to the instructions to the actuators.

If a Microprocessor is not used then Feedback to the controller is used. This is when input signals from a sensor is used to send instructions to the actuator.

Lego Robotics

Getting Started with the LEGO Robotics Project

The following has a complete guide to develop the robot from the build to the programming

Tips on building with Lego Robotics here

portfolio task 5
Use the Lego Robotics program to program a robot to complete the following:
a) from a set point travel 1 metre turn right, returning to the original starting point after making a square route.
b) from a set point travel 2 metres of zig zag, spin twice and stop.
c) from a set point travel 1 metre turn left spin twice and then travel to form a triangular shape.

Extension task
Watch the video above. what is used to keep the robot on the black line?

Lego Mindstorm NXT crocodile robot.

Extension task
Watch the video above. How many rcx units are used in the management of this robot? Would both rcx have there own program?

LEGO RCX and Wiimote

Extension task
Watch the video above. How do you think are these robots managed?

Lego Mindstorms Writer Robot

2. The Tech Museum
3. Robotics Academy
4. RoboLab Project site
5. Advanced LEGO Design site
6. Virtual LEGO Design site
7. How to use Virtual LEGO Design site
8. How to use LEGO gears site
9. How to use LEGO gears site 2
10. ROBOTC for RCX site

Web Excursion
Visit the Virtual LEGO Design sites. Site 6 has a program that you can download. This program allows you to create your own virtual Lego robot. Site 7 has detailed tutorials that will provide you with the skills to work with the application.

Innovations in robotics and ethics


You must complete portfolio 1, 2 and 3. then complete portfolio 4 as the major assessment. The portfolio needs to be added into your Googlesite on the due dates set.

 portfolio 1  Due week 2  research task
 portfolio 2  Due week 3  key terms task
 portfolio 3  Due week 5  programming task
 portfolio 4  Due week 6  programming task
 portfolio 5  Due week 6  programming task
 portfolio 6  Due week 8  Major Assessment task
 portfolio 7  Due week 10  Coding Task


portfolio task 6
Major Assessment
Download portfolio 4 guide here


portfolio task 7
Coding Task
  • Visit the Sploder game maker site here to sign up using your cenet details only.
  • View the following Youtube to see how to use Sploder.
  • Use Sploder to create an online product with a Robotic theme.
  • Make One of each game type, and add to the googlesite.




Made available under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution Licence: here

The personal or classroom educational use, provided there is a link to TeacherTube here. TeacherTube terms and conditions state that videos may be downloaded for

The YouTube terms and conditions state that videos may be embedded in the media, provided there is a link to YouTube and that the appropriate non commercial use is made here

Reference to the text and included cd-rom, IST, information, software and technology 7-10 , author Peter Ware et al. isbn 0-7314-0168-9 is made as students are expected to purchase both items.

Reference to the NSW Board of Studies Syllabus documentations are made, with documentations available from here